The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Bat For Lashes, Jon Bellion & Garbage
Fridays can be overwhelming for pop fans. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. I’m hoping to circumvent that tragic scenario with a new feature called The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’re probably knee-deep in Fifth Harmony’s sophomore LP, or perhaps delving into the demented electro of Flume’s Skin. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s start with a couple of veterans. Garbage burst back on the scene in April with “Empty” — a shot of Y2K rock that wouldn’t sound out of place on Version 2.0 and Beautiful Garbage. The band’s very-welcome revival continues with razor-sharp ballad “Even Though Our Love Is Doomed,” which is as beautiful as it is bleak. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are less successful at recapturing former glories on “The Getaway,” but it’s nice to have them back. Haters be damned.
If legacy acts don’t float your boat, how about some pitch-black pop from Bat For Lashes? The Brit serves “Daniel”-level excellence on brooding electro-adventure “Sunday Love,” which is easily the most accessible track on her new concept album, The Bride. I’ve already written about Dragonette’s “Lonely Heart,” but the Song Of The Summer contender officially arrives today. If you’re looking for a serotonin-raising pop anthem to get you through the long weekend, the search is over. Equally blissful is Jon Bellion’s nostalgic “80’s Films,” which name-checks Cyndi Lauper and Back To The Future over hazy synths.
They say good things come in threes, which probably means there’s a killer collaboration I’m missing because I could only find two. Pop divas are jumping on country ballads at an unprecedented rate these days (see Demi Lovato and Brad Paisley’s “Without A Fight” and Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s “Go Ahead And Break My Heart”), but Elle King’s duet with Dierks Bentley feels less forced. “Different For Girls” is the Nashville equivalent of Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy” and sounds like a crossover hit in waiting. The same could be said of Shakira’s gorgeous “La Bicicleta,” which finds her joining forces with fellow Colombian superstar Carlos Vives. Don’t be surprised if it turns out to be this year’s “La Tortura.”
Need a party soundtrack? Martin Garrix comes through on “Lions In The Wild,” a soaring collaboration with London duo Third Party. It features the uncredited vocals of “Don’t You Worry Child” singer John Martin and veers into Swedish House Mafia territory. Which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Phantoms take a less commercial approach on Skylar Astin-voiced banger “Call My Name,” but it’s still unusually sunny and pop-centric by their standards. If you’re a connoisseur of cheesy house (like me), Vicetone sample a Donna Summer classic on the disco-fabulous “Hawt Stuff.” Play it loud and proud!
Somewhat unexpectedly, given the BBQs and parties taking place over the next few days, much of the week’s new pop product is downtempo. Hannah Georgas continues teasing third LP For Evelyn with “Rideback” — an artfully constructed mood-setter that sits on a bed of horns. Laura Mvula is feeling similarly contemplative on “Show Me Love,” which falls somewhere between a hymn and a jazz ballad.
The chill-out vibes continue with Kill J and Sekuoia’s pristine “Lamp In The Dark.” The Danish producers focus on mood and atmosphere on this beautifully-layered piece of late-night, valium-addled electro. Last but not least is Albin Lee Meldau, who made serious waves earlier this year with “Lou Lou.” The Swede continues on that deliciously depressing bent on debut EP Lovers, most notably the title track. Check it out in the playlist below.